Wednesday, April 27, 2011
#112) AL SCHMELZ
Al Schmelz joined the New York Mets organization when he signed as an amateur free agent prior to the 1966 season. The right-hander had been a teammate of Rick Monday, Sal Bando amd Duffy Dyer while attending Arizona State University. (Al was also a member of the ASU basketball team.) Schmelz pitched most of his first season of professional baseball with Class-A Auburn. Al recorded a perfect 12-0 record with a 2.23 ERA in 13 starts. He was promoted to Double-A Williamsport to finish the year.
Schmelz was a member of the Williamsport starting rotation the next summer. He made 28 starts, and recorded 8 wins with a 2.60 ERA. He also struck out 181 batters in 197 innings pitched. That performance earned him a late season call-up to New York when rosters expanded. Al made his major-league debut with the Mets on September 7, 1967 at Shea Stadium. When Schmelz entered the game in the eight-inning he became the 25th different pitcher that New York had used that season. The number established a new National League record which had been previously held by Cincinnati in 1912, and equalled by Philadelphia in 1946.
He would make a second appearance for the Mets on September 25th. This time throwing a scoreless ninth-inning of the 4-2 loss to the Houston Astros at Shea. Bringing him to a total of three innings, two strikeouts, and a 3.00 ERA in his two games with New York.
The 1968 season saw the 24-year-old pitcher back in Double-A baseball. Schmelz left the Mets organization in the middle the season for the Oakland Athletics farm system. Only to return months later and finish the year in Triple-A Jacksonville. Arm troubles forced Al to retire following the 1969 campaign.
Returning to Arizona, Schmelz found a successful career in home construction following his time in baseball. He reached one million dollars of sales for Cavalier Homes in October of 1972. Al often appears with Arizona Major League Baseball Alumni at various youth clinics and appearances in the Scottsdale area.
Al Schmelz signed his card in the set for me through a mail-in signing by Major League Alumni Marketing on April 18, 2011.